Health care reform is the number one political issue before us at this time. It is a complex and difficult subject. The more we know about what those involved in this system think, the better informed are our decisions. The following is a summary of a recent health survey about consumer feelings. If you wish to review this in greater detail please visit batesinsurancegrp.com/Newsletter and click the link posted within this article.
The 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers, conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, is Deloitte’s second annual study of health care consumers’ attitudes, behaviors and unmet needs. It offers health care industry leaders and policymakers a comprehensive and timely perspective about how Americans approach their personal health, their health care providers, and health insurance. Below is a summary of the findings.
The study’s framework reflects a broad-based view of consumerism in six zones: (1) wellness and healthy living, including self-care and health management; (2) information sources helpful in consumer decision making; (3) traditional health services provided by medical professionals, hospitals and retail clinics, as well as prescription medications and medical devices; (4) alternative health services sometimes described as complementary medicine; (5) insurance coverage and other financial considerations; and (6) opinions about health care reform.
The transformation of the U.S. health care system requires a deep understanding of the role that consumers play – how they think and behave relative to the lifestyles they choose, the purchases they make and the assumptions they follow in preparing for future health problems and possible costs.
The survey’s key conclusions are the following:
Health care is a consumer market: consumers find ways to navigate the complexities of the U.S. system by comparing service, quality and costs
The health care market is not homogenous: it is comprised of six unique segments
Health cost concerns are changing behaviors
Consumers want holistic care and resources to pursue wellness and healthy living
Consumers embrace innovations that enhance self-care, convenience, personalization and control of their personal health information
A sample of interesting findings include:
Nearly 40 percent of consumers have expressed discontent with the status quo, rating the U.S. health care system a D or an F
A quarter of consumers have skipped care when they were sick or injured; two in five of those consumers have done so because they simply could not afford it, were not covered by insurance or thought the costs were too high
Three in 10 switched medications in the past year; 38 percent switched to save money
53 percent of consumers would like employers to be required to provide health insurance for employees
37 percent favor a mandate requiring every American to obtain health insurance either through direct purchase or through an employer or government program
7 in 10 say they would participate in a wellness program if they were given financial incentives, such as a reduced insurance premium or monetary reward
13 percent of consumers have visited a retail clinic this year and 30 percent said they would do so if it cost 50 percent or less than seeing a doctor in a doctor’s office
42 percent want access to an online personal health record connected to their doctor’s office
65 percent of consumers are interested in home monitoring devices that enable them to check their condition and send the results to their doctor
These insights and feelings about health care will influence our future health care system. It does spell reform in many segments of this industry. We hope this has added a little insight into this complex subject. For more on this survey and Deloitte please visit the link posted at batesinsurancegrp.com/Newsletter. If you would like to discuss health care options today, as always please don’t hesitate to contact us at the Bates Insurance Group.